Cortlandt Homes

In India, Tata corp.  has a plan to build condos that would sell for as little as $8000 a unit.  Which got me thinking about the cost of regulation in the US.  Take California, a state that has an explicit government goal to promote affordable housing.  My bet is that the permitting alone would cost more than $8000 a unit, and building code mandates would certainly make such a figure impossible.

I have always thought it funny that residents of the San Diego coast, with perhaps the mildest climate in the country, have the most onerous requirements in the country for insulation and air conditioning efficiency.  Its like requiring residents of Seattle to put on sun screen every day.


  1. Josh:

    Here in New York City most people hire "expediters" who are people skilled in the permitting process. They often have relationships with the people involved in approving most of the forms you need. These expediters will walk the forms through the various government offices until signitures are gathered.

  2. Tom G:

    I instantly thought of "The Fountainhead" of course.
    Which led me to wonder....might that book make a BETTER movie than the one that Hollywood is possibly working on for Atlas Shrugged? I know the original version cut a LOT out. If it were done well, it would be a great remake.

  3. Billy Beck:

    Tom: to my mind, there is no way to squeeze either one of those books into a single feature film. They demand mini-series treatment.

  4. Tom G:

    I agree with you, Billy. It would be awesome if HBO or Showtime did that.

  5. Bob Smith:

    California's "affordable housing" goals involve telling builders to sell some of their inventory at less than cost, rather than relief from the panoply of regulations, including "smart growth" and other limits on satisfying housing demand, that make housing so expensive in the Golden State. As such, they're worthless and in fact raise housing prices, just like rent control causes market rents to increase.

  6. DrTorch:


    Seems the political left all over the country enacts statutes that run contrary to their publically stated mission.

    In Maryland (perhaps select counties) ALL new home construction (of any type) now must include a sprinkler system. Of course this is "only" a few thousand dollars, and when you're dealing w/ a $300K home, that's 1%.
    But for affordable housing, more in the $50K range, that's going to be a 5% increase, and increases like that make affordable closer to non-affordable.

  7. John Moore:

    India has tons and tons of paperwork. A bribe or two is what is required to get the job done. Here, you're out of luck - you can't bribe 'em (usually - Chicago and New Orleans excepted)

  8. Miraj Patel:

    The most ironic part of it is the government claims to be there in order to reduce costs and make things more efficient, when in reality it does the opposite.

    @DrTorch I don't think the sprinkler law is only certain counties as you suggested. I know that Wicomico county was talking about it, but as far as I know, it hasn't been passed yet (I could be wrong though)

  9. Todd:


    Not sure if you have this, but could you provide info on some the "expediters". I have some friends that would find it useful. Can send you a private message if that is helpful.

    thanks, todd